Monday, November 29, 2004

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Lake Sunset
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
And so the sun set on Lake Pontchartrain on the evening of Thanksgiving and, despite having been preempted from my usual dinner time oratory on all the things we have to be thankful for, (a topic much ignored by my extended family this year, as it turned out,) I did ponder much on the topic and I know I have so very many things to be grateful for. And I am very grateful.

I am considered by most who know me well to be more of a Pollyanna type, always finding something good -some lesson or opportunity -in practically every situation judged as bad or unfortunate. I am not known as a complainer, though I will spout off when utterly frustrated by something. Injustice and the failure to use sound reasoning are two things that ignite me rather easily.

And as the Sun Set, the Moon Rose

Lake Moonrise
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
And so here we come to the rest of it, the things that have been riding along in my head these past few weeks, causing what I have come to recognize as a rather insidious kind of depression, one that has rendered me null and dispassionate toward most of the things for which I usually have a great deal of passion.

And I don't like feeling this way one bit. But I digress. Back to the rest of it, that topic only alluded to in the previous post...

I Love You BUT...

Dear America,

I cannot count the number of times I have felt and expressed tremendous gratitude for having come into being in this country rather than any of a number of other places on Earth where the things we have been able to take for granted barely exist, if at all. You've provided a good life for me with much that I have wanted and much more than I have truly needed, not to mention the many, many opportunities you've offered. I'm truly grateful.

But in the last few years you've changed and frankly, those changes have become frightening to me. And while I do love you with my whole heart, I feel that what was supposed to be your unconditional love for me and many of my other brothers and sisters has been changing to indifference, if not downright contempt. You have made many decisions on my behalf that have compromised both my freedom and my safety, as well of those of my children, friends, family and the majority of my fellow citizens, whether they realize it or not.

As someone who values love over all things, especially aggression, I feel I cannot stay here and fight with you to change your mind. Aside from love, the only weapons in my arsenal are facts, logic and reason, things we both once valued but you now have eschewed for hypocrisy, deception, self-righteousness, pride and arrogance. These serve as impenetrable shields against the weapons I and those like me wield, thus this is a battle I feel cannot be won. At least not anytime soon, I fear. And I love my children far too much to subject them to what the future portends.

So, given your tolerance to open relationships with other countries, I am entertaining the notion a grand affair with one that suits me better. I do intend to be descreet and I know you'll ignore my new romance as long as it's with one you feel is acceptable, and expect you'll find this one to be so. And I hope that, should our differences prove to be irreconcilable, you'll grant me a quickie divorce and make it as painless as possible for me. I know I don't matter much to you, so it should hardly be worth the time and effort to do otherwise.

Please understand, America, that I truly love you and always will, only now, my preference is to do that from a distance and in the arms of another. It is my sincere hope that it doesn't take a severe blow to the head for you to come to your senses and become the truly wise, caring, compassionate and humble nation you were designed to be - a nation that embraces us all, without prejudice , one that doesn't manipulate and exploit the many for the benefir of the few, and one that loves and respects all its global neighbors and the planet it occupies, as well. There is more strength in these things than in all the warheads in your armory. If and when that day comes, if it doesn't take too long, I will hapilly come home to you, my first love.

So, dear America, because I've only given you generalizations about why I feel we must separate for now, I will continue to post a number of specific examples of your behavior that alarm me, as well as some of the disconcerting consequences your decisions have wrought. I do this for those parts of your collective mind that just don't understand.

With Much Love,


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Out of Sight, Out of (My) Mind

phallic drop
What can I say? I'm not really out of my mind, but I liked the opportunity to use it in the title.

I have actually tried to post several times, only to have some occurrence impede my efforts. And the list of impediments seems endless -among them: Blogger's acting buggy or my browser crashes or someone calls and needs my ear for some lengthy expository ( and there has been a lot of that lately) or my 16 year old is melting down (again!) or I have a house guest or there are other friends in town that desire my company or I get to my laptop and end up stumbling upon some wretchedly addictive game (addictive because it's so delightfully mindless) or I slip into the indulgence of my latest preoccupation -researching my escape plan from these Divided States. (More on this later... The subject is covered in one of my many blog drafts that didn't made it to post.) And then there is work...and the time spent in avoidance of work.

Before writing this post, I was down in my studio recording after having found some rough tracks of song I wrote and completely forgot about. And I actually think it's good. I love it when things like this happen. Apparently, I was in one of those states of mind when something is bothering me and I actually record a vocal track with extemporaneous lyrics at the same time as the guitar track. This is when the truth comes out. I have a lot of songs with all the tracks put down, and a hook, chorus and melody but no verses. I hate writing lyrics when it's forced (and obviously I won't do it or I'd have more finished songs.)

Case in point: I took a break to see if an e-mail arrived with a link to some resources on a audio software site and found Richard's comment inquiring as to whether or not he should file a missing persons report. That was enough to make me take a moment out to give the assurance that I am still alive and as well as I can possibly be, given the many things on my mind. (And thanks for asking, Richard!) I started this post at 10:00PM.

Before I could finish writing this, my phone rang. It was my friend from LA calling. (She was last weekend's house guest.) These calls are rarely short, and as expected, this one wasn't, though I did actually get to talk a little this time. Since I could neither record nor finish this post while fulfilling my phone-based social network maintenance obligations, I decided to make two giant pots of vegitable soup. The house is freezing insided and I hate lighting the heaters for a number of reasons. So, just as I got the soup going and the kitchen cleaned up, the phone rang again. It's 1:00AM now and Renard is calling to see if he can pick up the groceries I bought for him. I was just about ready to return to this post, upload it, and get back to my musical pursuits. No dice. We are having issues again. We discuss them until after 3:00AM.

Renard leaves and I try to redo the guitar tracks on the song but my fingers are too cold. (It's in the 40°s here, and very dry. Yesterday it was in the 80°s and very humid. November in New Orleans. It's too late and I'm so cold that I must take a hot bath before I can get into bed. (My little bed-warmer is spending the night with her friend down the street.

So, now I'm bathed, I'm finishing this post and I can barely see straight now that the Ambien is really kicking in. I've got to be up in a few hours to head with the kids to the Lake House for Thanksgiving. I need some good, deep sleep between now and then. It's now 5:45 AM.

So much for going back to the studio tonight. When the day comes that I get all these songs in the proper state for copyright and get the tracks shaped up, I promise to send you all a CD (if you want one, of course). Then I hope to ink some fabulous publishing deal and live off passive income in some wonderful place for thr rest of my life. I just hope hell doesn't freeze over first.

Again, sorry I just disappeared like that, but I really did have good intentions. (And if you remember the cliche about good intentions, you know where I must be going when I die!) After this holiday, I'll be back, I miss all you guys!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Onion | Nation's Poor Win Election For Nation's Rich

The Onion | Nation's Poor Win Election For Nation's Rich

Oh, how I love The Onion in times like these. It is on my A-list.

(You can't imagine how painful it is for me to have to see my state represented like this, but I'll suck it up for the sake of comic relief. Ughhh!)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Act of Love, Part 2: 70 More Sorry Photos

It was between Angry Black Zombie Jesus' message or this guy's as my choice for the photo representation for this post. ABZJ was a little too big, and this guy won for presenting the most perplexing visual statement of all I have seen so far. Please, "y'all," interpret this one for me! (Oh, and yes, I'm quite aware that this is most likely a joke, from the obviously fake tatoo and questionable mullet to the gloves and open-mouthed, one-eyed dullard-stare. The dormroom bunkbeds, world maps and picture of Mr. Rogers' with "You Just Being You" on the wall kinda give it away, too.)

See the next 70 (including Angry Black Zombie Jesus) by clicking here or on the title of the post. See the first 70 on the link in the preceding post.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Sorry Everybody

A few days ago, pi22seven posted a link to a site called "Sorry Everybody." The purpose of the site is explained by it's creators as follows:
Some of us — hopefully most of us — are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us — hopefully most of us — are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't.
At first I found it slightly amusing as it seemed a bit of a take-off on a site created by a peace group that sent similar pictures to the people of Iraq. But the longer I browsed, a clear picture emerged of the pain and concern of nearly half this country (probably more, if we had an accurate vote count) for the way our presidential election affects not only the US but the rest of the world. The sorrow and pain of the people in the red states who worked so hard to defeat Bush is really palpable. (And of course, I know this firsthand!)

There are many responses from the world community posted on the site as well, many offering a place to crash for the next four years or offers to marry for citizenship in their home countries. How nice! (But rest assured, the damage being wrought by this president will in no way disappear in 4 years, folks.)

I decided I wanted to contribute on behalf of Louisiana and New Orleans (though I ultimately found two submissions from my state) and threw together a quick version of a "SORRY" submission for Renard, my children and myself, as seen here. (The site is unable to accept uploads at the moment, so ours will go up when the problem is resolved.)

When I first visited the site, the pages displayed full photos and not thumbnails (as it does now). There were more than 176 pages of submissions at that time and that's a lot to peruse. So, as a gesture of love to you, my handful of readers, I offer you my time spent in that pursuit. I went through the first 100 pages and picked out 70 photos that grabbed me for some reason and put them all on one page for your easy perusal. (You cannot imagine the time this will save you!) Maybe I'll do the same with the remainder.

I have been thinking about how the Bush voters would have felt if the election had gone the other way. Would they have been so despondent? Maybe the greedy would have been at the prospect of losing the big tax break. Some people don't consider any amount of wealth to be sufficient. But the rest? What would they have thought was at stake? Would any of them have done what this guy did? I think not, because I doubt these people grasp the consequences of their decision.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Holy War: Evangelical Marines Prepare to Battle Barbarians

At first I thought this was a joke. Is it just me or does this really make us look as creepy as the rest of the world probably thinks we are?

Democrats Reach Out

They won. The rest of us lost. We are a nation divided. Sensitive democrats must reach out to breach the chasm, to foster understanding that's been lost to those who see things differently. One such person has answered the call in this open letter to the Red-State victors, compliments of The Register, a most venerable publication of the UK. (Motto: Biting the hand that feeds IT.) My thanks to Rachel's dad for passing this one on to me.

Photographic Note: I deliberately turned this rather fuzzy picture of a water droplet on its side because it reminded me of a hypodermic needle. Or, perhaps a poisoned pen. (The photo would have been a reject had it not been for the drop's unusual shape.) Once you read this article, my decision to post it here as such may seem more appropriate.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Adjunct Bloggery and Dereliction of Duty

Shame on me for this.

Last month I received an invitation from Richard (AKA The Pedantic Pundit) to contribute to a new blog he'd just started called Electronic Ephemera and I accepted. I've contributed a few posts, but Richard has really taken this blog somewhere. I meant to list it in my blog links and actually started the process but the Netscape family of browsers seem to be unfriendly, even downright hostile at times when it comes to posting. (Firefox is famous for hanging on Blogger uploads when Safari has no problem at the same given moment...but Blogger does not yet support a Safari WYSIWYG interface and I like having that option at times.) Anyway, the link is over there now.

And speaking of Adjunct Bloggery, one day I really, really will post things on my Adjunct Therapy blog, which will deal with the irks and delights of teaching as a university adjunct. I may rename it. I am also considering starting one on the irks and delights of parenting in general, though the Teenager is presenting more of a challenge, but really I am not complaining. He's the most awesome young human being I know - smart, sensible, and he has never been in any kind trouble. It's just the battle of wills that's so taxing. Opinions, please. Think I should start this one?

Please, check out Electronic Ephemera! Richard is so diligent and ceaselessly finds amazing pieces of this and that from all over, not just on the aforementioned blog, but also on his Pedantic Pundit blog. So, mosey on over and check things out!

It's the People, Stupid...uh, I mean...It's the Stupid People

Stupid is a word I dislike, much like I dislike the word hate and both are words I generally try my best to avoid. But it was hard to resist this time.

I have found that I'm not alone in speculating about the cognitive abilities of Bush voters and I have seen an attempt to link voter preference with IQ. The attempt was debunked, and rightly so, as there are no reliable data sets from which to make such correlations. But, the case can still be made and I have set out to do just that, though the case may be more one of ignorance than stupidity.

So, using current and verifiable sources such as the US Census (2000) and CNN's election results online, I compared the number of college degree holders by state to voter preference in that state, and on occasions, in selected cities. My rationale is that there must exist some minimum standards for university entry and somewhat higher standards must exist for successful matriculation. By comparing the census data on education for each of the 50 states to each state's winning candidate, I found that in states favoring Kerry, for the most part, 25% or more of the population hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree. It seems a more college-educated population (read: broader world-views, more diversified population) votes Kerry (or NOT Bush, as it were).

I compiled the data in a table with some further elucidation. See it/read about it here.

By the way, I think the south has been getting a bad rap for being so very Bushy, when we're less so overall than some other non-southern states. In fact, some southern states were quite blue in many spots. For true red states, you'll have to visit the mid-west, particularly places like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wyoming, to name a few.

And for the record, though Louisiana may have been red on that national map, when looked at by parish, (we don't have counties and our legal system still operates under something called the "Napoleonic Code" unlike the rest of the country), New Orleans was a solid, dark blue island in a mottled sea of red, white and somewhat-light-blue. So when the rest of you northeast and west coast folks secede from Jesusland, New Orleans can be a protectorate of the United States of Canada. Think of us as your little tropical island getaway, like the northernmost Virgin Island. We've never fit in with the rest of the south anyway.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Lisa's Art History Lesson of the Day



From WebMuseum, Paris:
The extraordinary painter Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) stands apart from the prevailing Flemish traditions in painting. His style was unique, strikingly free, and his symbolism, unforgettably vivid, remains unparalleled to this day.

Marvellous and terrifying, he expresses an intense pessimism and reflects the anxieties of his time, one of social and political upheaval.

Bosch's most famous and unconventional picture is The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1500; Prado, Madrid) which, like most of his other ambitious works, is a large, 3-part altarpiece , called a triptych. It is named for the luscious garden in the central panel, which is filled with cavorting nudes and giant birds and fruit. The triptych depicts the history of the world and the progression of sin. Beginning on the outside shutters with the creation of the world, the story progresses from Adam and Eve and original sin on the left panel to the torments of hell, a dark, icy, yet fiery nightmarish vision, on the right.
The painting below is my adulteration of the right panel, depicting Hell. I know it has always appeared on every page of this blog, but I think it is appropriate to make it the centerpiece of one of today's posts. It kind of sums it up for me. I think I'll substitute one of the two Cheneys with a Karl Rove.

Lisa's Word of the Day


The outcome of this election offers an excellent opportunity for many Americans to learn the definition of a word with which most are probably unfamiliar.

Definitions of Hegemony on the Web:

The power of ideas exercised by a dominant or privileged social group over subordinate social groups

The domination of culture by one particular cultural group, resulting in the empowerment of certain cultural beliefs, values, and practices over others.

Strong Perspective--The capacity of dominant classes to persuade subordinate ones to accept, adopt and interiorize the values and norms which the dominant classes have adopted and believe are right and proper. Weak perspective--Posits a situation in which the subordinate classes may well be dissatisfied with the prevailing socio-economic order, but however alienated they might be from it, they are persuaded that any alternative would be drastically worse, and that in any case, there would be nothing much that they could do to bring about any such alternative.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's Only Erection Day If You're Japanese



OK. Bad joke. I know.


I can't remember the last time I had so much anticipation for something. Or such a desire to get through it and be done with it, not that I expect any resolution for many months. But at least the campaign will be over. I never intended for this to become a political blog. But this blog is a snapshot of things that make some kind of impression on me at any given moment, which makes politics inescapable.

And as impressions go, I think I would have to hang my head in shame if I were a republican right now. (That's the nice thing about being independent -you never have to hang your head in shame about things your party does. No guilt by association.) I know that not all republicans are ignorant, self-righteous, bible-thumping members of the religious right, but since Karl Rove (Bush's Brain) has done his market research and determined this to be a valuable slice of the population, the party seems to have cloaked itself in this idea of moral superiority. It doesn't have to be about religiously charged issues. It's a sense of moral superiority, in general.

What amazes me is the apparent lack of a collective cognitive dissonance between all this moral superiority talk and the actions attributed to the party these days. A while back I saw this article, about the guy who staged an incident at a political event and then blamed it on Kerry supporters. He seems to get around. How pathetic.

Then, W gets busted cheating in the first debate. That's right, folks. Dr. Robert M. Nelson, a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis, concluded he was wired. To Karl Rove, no doubt.

And speaking of Rove, here is a fascinating article from The Atlantic Monthly about the man pulling the strings that make Bush walk and talk just like a real boy. Rove is one nasty, nasty man. Some say brilliant, but no one disputes nasty. It turns out that the recount is a handy weapon in his election arsenal. Who knew? This article is a must-read.

Back to the short list of things republicans should be ashamed of, next comes the infuriating and incredibly misleading "wolves" ad. Attack ads are disgusting enough, but this one was particularly vile in its distortion of the truth. (Here's an article with some ideas about why attack ads work, despite the fact that people say they dislike them.) I don't understand how these ads are allowed to run. If a business ran an ad this misleading about a product, the FTC would pounce and the ad would be pulled and the sponsor would likely be required to run corrective advertising to address the misperceptions it created.

But all this is nothing compared to the recent incidents of voter fraud, suppression and intimidation attributed to the republican contingencies. There are so many articles about so many incidents, like this one from the BBC News, and several referenced here, or all the action in Ohio being compiled here. Far too many to list. It boggles the mind! These are our moral superiors? Hah! If you think something fishy is going in your precinct or you experience any questionable challenge or intimidation at the polls, check this page for information on addressing the situation.

Like I said, not all republicans or conservatives fit the reality-blind, deaf and dumb profile. In fact, I admire the authors who wrote articles like this one. Even The American Conservative had to relent. Some very prominent republicans have revealed their support for John Kerry and their fear of the consequences of 4 more years of Bush.

So, now it's time to get out and vote. If you still have the slightest bit of indecision or questions about which lever to pull today, you might want to take a look at the well-reasoned endorsements offered by these well-respected publications:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Economist
The New Yorker
The Nation
The New Republic

The Nation also produced this: 100 Facts and One Opinion

For the rest of us, the Democratic Underground has an amusing summary of last week's fun for us. Be sure to check out how much profit those oil companies are making compared to last year.

Monday, November 01, 2004

See My Ex on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Tonight)



I'd have posted this earlier but I just received a call from my ex telling us that they will be on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. "They" refers to The Neville Brothers, with whom Will has played drums since around 1981. We're still friends and at some point I'll explain how we ended up together in the first place, which is a question every single person who has ever met both of us asks, (because we don't seem to fit together).

Rather than delay this post any longer, I'll post this now and return shortly with a picture of him from 1985, a couple of years before we got married. Since then, what I've gained in gray hairs, he's gained in pounds. (I dye my grays.)